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Prepare Yourself: Backcountry Trip Signups Are Coming

Posted by Anna Roth at Jan 23, 2018 10:10 AM |

WTA's backcountry trips are some of the most popular volunteer events we host. Learn how you can be the best prepared for when registration opens.

Backcountry trips are some of WTA's most popular volunteer events. Volunteers spend multiple days camping in beautiful areas, doing much-needed trail maintenance during the day and stargazing or hanging out talking to each other at night. The trips are a wonderful way to explore a new part of Washington, help protect and improve trails and meet new friends.

colchuck-lake_jessi-loerch.jpgVolunteers on a volunteer vacation to Colchuck Lake take a break to take in the views. Photo by Jessi Loerch.

Sounds fun, right? The best way to ensure you get a spot on one is to be as prepared for registration day. Here's your checklist, so that when the trips open for registration on February 9 at 10 a.m., you have the best chance of bagging the one you want.

  • Make a My Backpack account

    If you haven't already, that is. They're free, and required to sign up for work parties. You can make one right here.

    Not sure if you've got an account? Here's a hint: If you've written trip reports on, or done a backcountry trip with us in the past three years, you've got one. If you've forgotten your password or the email you registered with, we can help
  • Complete your forms

    For the safety of you and other volunteers, WTA needs to know a bit about your physical health and any special considerations you may have. So please fill out your medical and backcountry experience forms. They are in your My Backpack dashboard, under "My Work Parties" or "Crew Leader Corner".

    If you've filled these forms out for a past trip, you will need to re-enter your information; some of our questions have changed. 

Volunteers and crew leaders on WTA work parties are friendly and get lots of good work done! Photo by Lauren Glass. 

  • Sign up for a work party

    WTA recommends anyone interested in participating in a backcountry trip participate in at least one one-day work party to see how you like it. Find one near you.

If you've checked off those three items, you're ready. You can preview where we're working beginning Feb. 2, so check back on the schedule. 

In the meantime, here are some other things to consider: 

Choose Your own adventure

We have several types of backcountry trips, and if you're new to our community, you'll want to find the one that's right for you.

  • If you like backpacking and trail work, you can combine them and join a Backcountry Response Team (BCRT)
  • Looking for a little more relaxed pace? Our volunteer vacations are stock supported (so you don't have to carry all your gear) and feature unbelieveably delicious meals.  Most Volunteer Vacations involve a hike to the campsite, but some are car-camps, meaning you'll be able to come back to your vehicle each day. 
  • If you know (or you are) a high schooler between 14-18, you could be eligible for one of our Youth Volunteer Vacations. Frontcountry, backcountry or extended, these are a wonderful way to spend part of summer break.

42177674371_b1cb54897a_b.jpg Seriously, the meals on volunteer vacations are next level. Photo by Austin Easter. 

read the fine print

Occasionally, we designate a small number of BCRTs as strenuous. These trips have been determined as particularly challenging using a number of factors, including miles hiked and elevation gained each day, the length of the trip and estimated weight of pack with tools.

If you are interested in participating in one, know that the registration process is slightly different, and you'll need to speak with a WTA trail maintenance staff member before being approved for one of these trips. 

Want to be ready for a strenuous trip? Take a look at our Conditioning Tips and Resources, and be sure you have (and know how to use) everything on our BCRT packing list.  

Please don't save your spot

These trips are great fun, and we want anyone who is interested in participating in backcountry trips to have the best chance of experiencing one. So please only register for trips you are sure you can commit to fully. 

colchuck-lake-womens_beth-mackino.jpgBackcountry trips are great fun -- we want everyone who's interested to have a chance to sign up for one. Photo by Beth Mackino.